Distance has apparently become a real problem. I know I have too much of it. Don’t you? Golf courses are too short now, and many have to spend millions to make a their holes more challenging for .00000000000003% of the golfers on the planet. Why? Most think this “problem” is just the golf ball. This ball distance talk has heated up this year, especially after Dustin Johnson nearly made an ace on a 400 yard par-4 in Kapalua. People got all amped up about the ball going too far with no mind what the conditions were (downwind, downhill, hard ground). I’ve hit a 430 yard drive, in the mountains, on hard ground, with a heavy tailwind. I hit about a 520 yard drive also. It hit the cart path about 20 times. Roll back cart paths!
The subject of bifurcation seems to be making a comeback this year. Bifurcation in golf is the splitting of the golf ball into two different models: a “tournament ball” which the PGA Tour players would use, and a regular ball that Joe golfer would use. The tournament ball would be limited more in its distance than the regular ball.
I’m not a fan of bifurcation, and surely the golf manufacturers aren’t. The reason that 300 yard drives are impressive is because it takes some skill and athleticism to make it happen more than just a rare lucky swing. When I get ahold of one and hit it as far as Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlory, or Tiger Woods, I get excited.
Hitting a big drive is fun. That’s one of the few things that can help me stay interested in golf. How can I compare myself to those great golfers if I’m playing a different ball? Aspiring to hit shots like those pros is part of the fun, and the challenge.
Roll Back The Ball
Instead of bifurcation, some think all golf balls should be “rolled back.” Haha nice pun. The golf ball should be put back to a maximum distance number that’s in some golf governing body members’ heads, a distance shorter than it goes now. What distance? What’s fair?
This theory REALLY takes the fun out of it, and all it will do is make golf harder for those who don’t hit it far, most amateurs and Corey Pavin.
Rolling the ball back certainly wouldn’t help the golf equipment industry. It would pretty much kill every golf ball advertising and PR campaign theme since the beginning of golf balls, “this ball is longer!” What would the companies advertise if the ball is rolled back? This ball is the longest best rolled back ever!
What Else Should Golf Roll Back?
The problem with distance, if one actually thinks it is a problem, isn’t just the ball. There are many, many other factors involved in how far the golf ball travels these days. PGA Tour golfers are no longer out-of-shape pot-bellied smokers who drink booze all night, don’t work out, don’t have extensive teams of trainers and coaches, and don’t practice. Well, other than John Daly. PGA Tour golfers work out like crazy, have incredible flexibility, and have some of the most amazing advances in technology behind their swings and their gear. I’m not talking about just the golf ball. Here’s list of a few of the things professional golf would have to roll back other than the ball, though I’m sure there are some I’m missing.
Fitness – First, we will have to roll back fitness. Pro golfers today are super-fit (usually). Roll them back from the gym.
Flexibility – We must find ways of making today’s golfers more stiff and less flexible. No more yoga. No more flexibility training. Roll it back.
Personal Trainers – Speaking of training and fitness, part of that whole combo includes personal trainers. They’ll have to go.
Dietitians – Part of the fitness component is dietitians. Golfers who eat better can be more flexible and strong. Roll back the dietitians. Go back to the food pro golfers ate in the 50’s (except probably Gary Player). Make ‘em all eat fatty diets with lots of carbs! No more kale. Roll them back from precisely calculated sports diets to greasy burger
Golf Coaches – Golf coaches will certainly have to be rolled back.
Golf Shaft Technology – Shafts are as much to blame for distance as the golf ball. They’re waaaaay too good these days. Shafts must be rolled back.
Driver Head Technology – Driver head engineering is certainly a distance culprit. What is it this year? Jail face break twist technology I think. Roll back the drivers!
Swing Analysis & Launch Monitors – 99.9% of tour players utilize launch and swing analysis to optimize their swing, their shafts, their launch angles, spin rates and so on. Launch monitors have a huge impact on today’s distance problem. No more launch monitors. Roll ‘em back.
Golf Grip Technology – Golf grip technology certainly helps the pro golfer connect to the club. Let’s roll back that connection. Make the grip weaker, less stable. Roll it back.
Golf Course Conditioning – Hard ground certainly is a contributor to the distance problem. Short, precisely cut grass is too. Roll ‘em back. Let’s make some soft, wet courses with longer fairways and be sure to cut those fairways with inconsistent, dull mower blades. Roll back the roll so to speak.
I find it mildly confusing and entertaining when I hear that golf courses are “too short.” Many courses are ruining their original designs and spending millions by adding more length because .0000000000000003% of the golfers in the world can hit the ball so far. Meanwhile the average golfer’s scores haven’t improved in decades. In fact, over the last few years average golfer’s scores have edged upward. All that extra distance the average golfer is getting these days is really helping!
To fix this mythical distance problem golf’s governing bodies are considering solutions that will hurt the golf equipment industry and simultaneously make golf less fun for the average player. With all this talk of the golf industry’s struggles and the need to “grow golf,” making it less fun is a really dumb idea.
This Trump global warming is great for my golf game. Normally all the courses here in northern Utah would be closed and under a deep blanket of snow, but instead the temps are around 50 degrees and there’s grass! So I hung up the skis and got the sticks out yesterday and played my first round of golf for 2018, a 9-holer at River Oaks. River is my former and about to be current home course again, since moved to within a wedge of the 8th tee a couple of months ago.
On the first tee I found the subject of the first 2018 “Random Stuff You Find on the Golf Course” post, someone’s toothbrush. What’s the story behind this? Was a passer by brushing his/her teeth and dropped it? Was a golfer in such a rush from his house to the first tee that he was still brushing his teeth, then so mad about hitting that first ball in the water on the right forgot to pick up the tooth brush? Did someone’s woman throw his toothbrush out the window of a nearby apartment after she found out he was using his apparent girlfriend’s toothbrush? We may never know.
Stats on the first round of 2018
I made birdie on the first hole of the year. So there’s that. I thought of quitting for the rest of 2018 at that point. I’d be -1 for the year!
That 1-putt birdie on the first hole would be the first of FIVE 1-putts for the nine holes! I managed a double along with seven pars to go with it for a surprising 36 (one over par as the front nine is a par-35). 13 putts, 1.44 putts per hole average. Found 4/6 fairways but the two I missed were only by a couple of feet.
I’ll take that for January and a cold, tight swing. Actually it wasn’t even that cold. I had to take off my beanie and my outer layer because I was too hot. I’m playing 18 today at a nice country club. I wonder if there will be any additions to the “Random Stuff You Find on the Golf Course” story there.
You’re in trouble, so you think. You’ve waited far too long to get that golf gift for the golfer on your Christmas list. Now it’s too late to order anything from Amazon.
Fear not. There’s probably a local golf course somewhere near you or even better, the home course of your gift recipient.
Last Minute Golf Christmas Gifts
If you know your golfer’s home course, a great gift is simply a gift card to the course. Then your recipient can choose exactly what he/she wants. Some courses separate pro shop apparel and equipment from golf green fees, so make sure you get them the card for whichever one you prefer.
Some courses also offer range passes or punch passes for buckets. A gift of game improvement is a great idea.
Speaking of game improvement, consider buying a lesson from a PGA Pro at your local course as a Christmas golf gift. The course can likely work that into a gift card of some kind or gift certificate.
If you’d like to be a little more personal take a sneaky peek at your golfer’s golf bag if you can. See what kind of golf balls they have in the pocket. There’s probably a hodge podge of balls, but look closely and try to figure out his/her preferred brand and model, or perhaps you already know it. Your local golf shop should have them.
Some other ideas for golf gifts you’ll easily find at any local golf shop include golf towels, umbrellas, head covers,
Golfers can never have too many golf shirts, shorts, hats, outerwear or golf socks. Most local golf course pro shops have great selections. Many regional shops have team logo items for your favorite college or pro team.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Uber Wednesday (I just made that up)… Christmas is coming in about a month and it’s time to start thinking about getting the golfer on your gift list some cool gear. I’m here to help. I’ll post a few great suggestions which will be in a fairly broad price range. Each item will be a quick writeup and photo. The title and photo will be linkable to the HOG review where you can get more information. Also be sure to check out the HOG 2017 Christmas/Holiday Golf Apparel Gift Guide.
TecTecTec VPRO500S Laser Rangefinder – $179
This is a high performance laser with slope for a very inexpensive price, rivaling other lasers that can cost over $500.
Snell My Tour Ball – $31.99
The My Tour Ball equals the performance of the highest end balls, like the ProV1. It should. It was designed by the same person who designed it!
Emoji Poop Driver Head Cover – $20
For only $20 bucks you can remind the golfer on your gift list exactly what kind of game he/she has.
Indoor-Outdoor Golf Practice Balls – $14.95
Practice makes perfect. Get some reps in inside with these soft practice balls. They won’t break the china.
Stage V Clinger – $14.99
Stage V Clinger Cigar Holder
Looking for a cigar gift? The Stage V Clinger is a great clip which magnetically attaches to metal, or attaches to anything else via velcro.
Tornado Tee – $15
These space age tees have a micro mesh crown which gives way during the compression of the ball at impact. This helps reduce spin and increase distance.
Bushnell Golf Pro X2 Laser Rangefinder – $499
Bushnell Golf Pro X2 Laser Rangefinder
For that golfer on your holiday gift list you really, really, reeeeaallly love… get him/her the best laser rangefinder money can buy, the Bushnell Golf Pro X2.
After seven great years, the HOG World Headquarters has moved to a brand new, just built location. Yes it is closer to the golf course. In fact, it’s about a 9-iron to the 8th green on one of my home courses. I guess that means for now I probably won’t be giving up golf.
I’m still unpacking boxes and trying to find stuff like toothpaste and underwear. As soon as I’m better settled in I’ll be back to more regular posts, golf equipment reviews, golf travel reviews, and more entertaining content.